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Arch Oral Biol. 1999 Aug;44(8):657-64.

Mandibular posture during sleep in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea.

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Department of Oral Health Sciences, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, The University of British Columbia, Canada.


Vertical mandibular posture is thought to be related to narrowing of the upper airway, because mouth opening is associated with an inferior-posterior movement of the mandible and the tongue which influences pharyngeal airway patency. To test whether the mandibular posture is related to the occurrence and/or termination of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), the vertical mandibular position was recorded intraorally using a magnet sensor during a standard sleep study in seven patients with OSA. Measurements were recorded during sleep both in the supine and lateral recumbent positions. The percentage of total sleep time spent with mandibular opening greater than 5 mm was significantly larger (p<0.001) in patients with OSA (69.3+/-23.3%) compared with our previous results obtained from healthy adults without OSA (11.1+/-11.6%). The stage of sleep affected the vertical mandibular posture during sleep in the supine position, but not in the lateral recumbent position in patients with OSA. In non-rapid eye-movement sleep, mandibular opening increased progressively during apnoeic episodes and decreased at the termination of apnoeic episodes. In contrast, no significant change in mandibular posture occurred in apnoeic episodes during rapid eye-movement sleep. It was concluded that the vertical mandibular posture is more open during sleep in patients with OSA than in healthy adults and that mandibular opening increases progressively during apnoeic episodes and decreases at the termination of those episodes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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